I’m pretty sure I’m on yet another FBI watchlist now.
My initial criticism about Cuties was limited to Netflix marketing campaign, which very strongly sexualized a small gaggle of pubescent girls wearing stripper costumes. Whereas the original French poster just showed a bunch of kids skipping down the street wearing their underwear outside of their clothes.
I was privately of the opinion that the actual film was probably nowhere near as bad as the Netflix marketing campaign made it out to be.
Well, I’ve been wrong before.
At first, it just seems to be about the life of a Muslim girl in France. Her father is about to marry a second wife and Amy (the lead girl) and her mother aren’t too happy about it, but they have to do submit to this because of their culture.
Anyway, Amy goes down to the laundry room and sees another girl dancing there.
My initial reaction was, “okay, I guess the controversy was overblown. There is nothing really bad going on…what the fuck!?!?!?”
Yes, there are some scenes that are pretty bad. Including one where a very underage girl flashes her breasts.
Now, I understand that director Maïmouna Doucouré was deliberately trying to be disturbing but she crossed over a very big line to do it. Setting up and filming a dog fight to show that dog fighting is bad, crosses that line. Genuinely breaking a woman’s nose on camera to show that spousal abuse is bad, also, crosses that line.
Cultural differences between the US and France notwithstanding, this is not how you go about disturbing an audience. Zooming in on an eleven-year old’s gyrating crotch goes beyond cringe all the way to disgusting.
Disgusting your audience does not make something automatically art.
I’ve seen “disturbing films” before. Some I think are genuinely art, some are garbage that pretentious assholes only pretend that they are really, really into and that you stupid normies just don’t get. The ludicrously praised, Salo, is genuinely rubbish while the utterly insane, Holy Mountain is actually art.
A simple test to determine the difference is this; if you didn’t see the most disturbing scenes in the movie, would you still think it was any good? And Cuties fails that test. It wouldn’t be anything other than, blah, even if its worst scenes of child exploitation had been shot differently. It’s a very dull movie and the character arc of Amy is unsatisfying and uninteresting.
I will grant that director Maïmouna Doucouré probably is against the sexualization of pubescent girls. Given that she is rebelling against her own culture and Islam’s known problems with child marriage, I will (reluctantly) give her intentions the benefit of the doubt.
What I can’t give a pass to is the result.
She could have gotten the footage she needed to make her point without performing a gynecological examination on girls who have only just stopped being toddlers.
Yeah, it’s horrifying.